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Published: December 2nd 2017
Today is the big day as we head off on our 6 week adventure around Europe and Morocco. The special event is made even more special by Constance getting her final results from ANU and officially becoming an Arts/Law graduate and Gus spotting John Cena at check-in. Personally I thought I thought it was Matt Damon, but I have been assured by Gus that he is "royalty" and a debate ensued between the kids as to who had the most instagram followers, Kim Kardashian, John Cena or Matt Damon.
Gus, in usual Gus fashion, had decided the best approach to the 20 hour flight to Madrid was to stay out all night and get home at 2.30am just in time to shower before heading out to the airport. In the lounge I put my good friend Jeff Howard's anti-jetlag strategy into action and started on the champagne.
Sitting in 1st class, after discovering that you can't leave frequent flyer points to your children, I got my first WhatsApp message from Constance. "I'm going to kill Gus". This is not an uncommon threat in the Whittle household and one that I have used and even tried to put into effect,
however as I started on the 2015 vintage Dom Perignon it seemed a distant possibility. Well at least as far away as Economy.
Even for someone like me with the ability to extract the odd funny thought from most situations the 20 hour flight didn't show a lot of promise. John Cena was behind us and he has overtaken Willie Mason as the world's largest man in my estimation. I was also concerned that Emirates had named their entertainment system ICE. It reminded me of the Turkish electronic brand Arcelik which I had contemplated bringing to Australia for obvious reasons.
At Dubai I did get some satisfaction waiting for a much toned down Gus who, having said in the lounge how much he was looking forward to the flight, emerged looking dishevelled, complaining of a headache and saying it was the worst flight ever. I guess there was no vintage Dom in economy. A lovely lady from Emirates had a sign for passengers for Madrid and the 4 of us and 2 others rushed behind her as we caught trains, escalators, stairs, the space shuttle, went through baggage scanners and arrived at Gate 4,633 just in time to
board our flight. Webjet's warning that our flights were too close was completely wrong. Just had enough time to tell Gus there was 8 hours to go.
At Madrid we were met by a lovely man from Emirates who took us to our Airbnb in Centro. I had booked dinner at Celso y Manolo at 10.30 so we had quick showers and walked up town. It was a great tapas bar, lively with a modern approach to food. They did put us in the designated tourist section but it was very good all the same. It was a great opportunity for me to brush up on my non existent Spanish and demonstrate just how confused I can make waitstaff.
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